QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS||(CLAIMANT)|
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AG
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(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
THE DEFENDANT WAS NOT REPRESENTED
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(a) Must the use of a Larsen trap be shown in fact to promote the conservation of wild birds (inter alia) or is it sufficient for the respondent to show that the trap was used for that purpose and that he honestly and reasonably believed that it would promote such conservation?
(b) Can an offence of unnecessary suffering to the decoy bird (either per se or by reason of not 'rotating' the decoy bird) be made out notwithstanding that the Larsen trap has been used in accordance with the terms and conditions of the licence?
(c) Was I right to acquit the respondent of the offence under section 8(1) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981?
(d) Was I right to acquit the respondent of the offence under section (1)(1)(a) of the Protection of Animals Act 1911?
"If a person keeps or confines any bird whatever in any cage or other receptacle which is not sufficient in height, length or breadth to permit the bird to stretch its wings freely, he shall be guilty of an offence . . . "
"Sections 1, 5, 6(3), 7 and 8 . . . do not apply to anything done . . . (c) for the purpose of conserving wild birds . . . if it is done under and in accordance with the terms of a licence granted by the appropriate authority."
"The Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, in exercise of the powers conferred on him by section 16(1)(c), (d) and (k) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 ("the Act") and after consultation with the Nature Conservancy Council for England and being satisfied that as regards the purpose set out at paragraph 2 that there is no other satisfactory solution, hereby grants the following licence.
1. The purposes of this licence are for conserving wild birds, protecting any collection of wild birds and preventing serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber or fisheries.
2. Subject to the terms and conditions below, this licence permits any authorised person to keep or confine any bird listed in paragraph 3 of this licence in a Larsen cage-trap, the dimensions of which do not satisfy the requirements of section 8(1) of the Act.
Terms and conditions
3. No bird other than a species included in the following list may be kept or confined in a Larsen cage-trap as a decoy . . ."
I interpose to identify that one of the birds so specified is the magpie. I return to the terms of the licence.
"4. Any bird not listed above which may become confined in the cage-trap must be released immediately on being found.
5. Each Larsen cage-trap which contains a decoy or a live bird must be inspected on at least one occasion in any 24-hour period. Where Larsen cage-traps are left in the open but not in use, they must be rendered incapable of holding or catching birds.
6. The decoy bird must be provided with adequate food, water, shelter and a perch for the entire period during which it is used. The decoy bird must be removed when the trap is not in use.
7. This licence applies to England and is valid, unless previously revoked, from the period 12 January 2000 to 31 December 2001."
"If any person --
(a) shall . . . cause any unnecessary suffering . . . to any animal . . . such person shall be guilty of an offence of cruelty within the meaning of this act."